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22.06.2006 Press Release

Gov't Urged To Ensure Whistleblowers Protection

By Times
Gov't Urged To Ensure Whistleblowers Protection
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MEMBERS of Parliament yesterday appealed to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to ensure that adequate measures are put in place to protect people who give vital information to expose corruption in public life.

The members were contributing to a motion by Mr. Joe Ghartey, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, on the Whistleblowers Bill which was taken through the second reading in the legislative process.

The Bill stipulates how individuals may in the public interest disclose information that relates to unlawful, corrupt or other illegal conduct or practices in the country.

In his contribution in support of the motion, Mr. Stephen Balado Manu (NPP-Ahafo Ano South), said that besides passing the bill into law practical measures should be taken to ensure that the identities of individuals who give information are not leaked to the offenders.

Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor (NDC-Lawra-Nandom) called for further public education on the benefits of the law so that communities might not ostracize people who expose acts of corruption in the society.
called for further public education on the benefits of the law so that communities might not ostracize people who expose acts of corruption in the society.

Captain Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (NPP-Berekum), expressed the hope that people would not take advantage of the law “to manufacture baseless allegations to tarnish the image of law-abiding citizens.”
expressed the hope that people would not take advantage of the law “to manufacture baseless allegations to tarnish the image of law-abiding citizens.”

Mr. Mahama Ayariga (NDC-Bawku-Central) wondered why the proposed Freedom of Information Bill was not brought first for passage to strengthen the effectiveness of the Whistleblowers Bill.
wondered why the proposed Freedom of Information Bill was not brought first for passage to strengthen the effectiveness of the Whistleblowers Bill.

Mr. Yaw Baah (NPP-Kumawu) supported the passage of the Bill, saying it would help in the collective effort by all Ghanaians to reduce corruption in the country.
supported the passage of the Bill, saying it would help in the collective effort by all Ghanaians to reduce corruption in the country.

Mr. John Mahama (NDC-Bole-Bamboi) called for an amendment to the Public Assets Declaration Act to ensure that the media have access to the records to verify reports on public officials suspected to have abused their office for private benefit.
called for an amendment to the Public Assets Declaration Act to ensure that the media have access to the records to verify reports on public officials suspected to have abused their office for private benefit.

Mr. John Ndebugre (PNC-Zebilla) wondered why the Bill expected in one breath that people might give information on purely altruistic grounds, and in another, was seeking to reward such people.
wondered why the Bill expected in one breath that people might give information on purely altruistic grounds, and in another, was seeking to reward such people.

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu (NDC-Tamale South called for a review of the manner in which the Office of Accountability had been set up for it to make its reports available to other public agencies, apart from the President.
called for a review of the manner in which the Office of Accountability had been set up for it to make its reports available to other public agencies, apart from the President.

Summing up, Mr. Ghartey gave assurance that the Ministry would do its utmost to protect people who gave information to check acts of corruption and malfeasance in governance.

He said the Bill empowered state agencies like the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to take-up investigations and to give judgements that could be as enforceable as an order of the High Court.

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